IN THE REVIEW

Italy’s Great, Mysterious Storyteller

Naples, 1964; photograph by Bruno Barbey

My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein

The Story of a New Name

by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein
Elena Ferrante’s Naples books are essentially about knowledge—its possibilities and its limits. Intellectual knowledge, sexual knowledge, political knowledge. What kind of knowledge does it take to get by in this world? How do we attain that knowledge? How does our knowledge change us and wound us and empower us, often at the same time? What things do we want to know and what would we prefer to leave unknown? What can we control? Who has power over our lives?